The Diverse Educational Community and Doctoral Experience (DECADE) collaborates with the Office of Inclusive Excellence to create a warm and inclusive climate within the University of California, Irvine. DECADE is a multi-departmental collaborative that includes faculty, staff, students, and even alumni–all committed to facilitating a sense of belonging for all UCI students.

DECADE provides students with professional development events, leadership opportunities, and a mutually empowering community. DECADE seeks to increase the participation, retention, and success of women and underrepresented minorities in graduate programs. Here are some of the resources that DECADE provides to all UCI graduate students: 

  • Competitive Edge Summer Research Program
  • DECADE Events
  • DECADE Faculty Mentors
  • DECADE School Based Councils
  • DECADE Professional Development Awards

Subscribe to the DECADE listserv to find out more about DECADE events, programs, and initiatives!

More Information

The DECADE Competitive Edge Summer Research Program is a pre-entry summer research program geared towards incoming Ph.D and M.F.A students who are underrepresented in their disciplines. Participants conduct faculty-mentored research, build community, and participate in workshops that help them successfully transition into their graduate program.

Please note this program will be on hiatus until further notice.

Most graduate departments and programs at UCI have at least one DECADE representative, which is a graduate student leader that works towards an equitable, well-developed climate in their programs. One way this happens is through DECADE events, where student representatives put on programs that will benefit their departments. 

Last academic year, DECADE representatives all around UCI put on nearly 150 events, including inclusive excellence workshops, food drives, mentorship programs, study spaces, de-stress seminars, and service opportunities. To see what events are happening in your department, you can use the DECADE student representative spreadsheet to find your department, identify your student representative, and reach out to them about what the next event will be.

DECADE Faculty Mentors foster inclusive excellence at the graduate level. They work with graduate students, DECADE student representatives, faculty, and administrators to improve climate, inclusion, and access within their academic programs.

Current list of DECADE Faculty Mentors

While we invite students to be involved with the campus-wide DECADE events that we organize, we also recognize the importance of school-based councils. These school councils can help gather students to discuss school-specific issues and resources based on the needs of each discipline. We strongly encourage the formation of school-based DECADE student councils that will:

  • Provide a safe space for graduate students to discuss issues they may be facing
  • Promote opportunities for graduate students to implement programming regarding diversity
  • Promote more dialogue between graduate students and faculty, especially regarding diversity
  • Build and sustain an inclusive school-wide culture for all graduate students

Below are some school-based councils that we have, as well as some contacts for each of them:

If you are looking to start a DECADE school-based council, please contact

DECADE Student Representatives are current graduate students who serve in an advisory role to DECADE leadership, faculty mentors, equity advisors, and the Graduate Dean’s Diversity Council. They help plan and organize DECADE programing and events, with the purpose of fostering an equitable and warm climate for all UCI graduate students. Click here to learn more.

For information on getting involved* contact your respective DECADE faculty mentor or

*Please note: The campus-wide DECADE representative role is one of academic service, taken up by students in good academic standing that have either: a) been nominated by their department’s faculty mentor, or b) have volunteered to step into the role by collaborating with DECADE coordinator.

Once in their role, campus-wide DECADE representatives may remain in their role until:

  • They are unwilling to continue
  • They are either unable to continue, due to personal or medical reasons
  • They fall out of good academic standing
  • They are removed by the DECADE program coordinator (though this would only be the last resort in cases of significant mishandling or unfulfillment of the DECADE role).

Service as a DECADE representative is not contingent upon the presence of a DECADE faculty mentor, presence of a DECADE program coordinator, or an on-campus learning framework.

DECADE representatives do a lot. They work with faculty members, they put on programs, they connect with the students in their department…and they do it all in the name of service. We want to recognize the student representatives who have done an exceptional job at fostering a sense of belonging for the students in their department. Below are the latest awardees of the Outstanding DECADE Representative Awards: 

AY 2022-2023:

Jonathan PicenoBiomedical Engineering
Alisson RowlandPolitical Science
Ari KhoudaryCognitive Science
Olga JaimePhysiology & Biophysics
Jeesoo KimStrategy & Entrepreneurship
Mahkameh RasouliNursing
Maksim GiljenPsychological Science
Sridipta GhatakUrban Planning & Public Policy
Tiffany ZhuPhilosophy
Lina BrodskyEducation
AY 2021-2022:
Taylor SilvermanAnthropology
Edward MendezHumanities
Stephanie OrchanianMBB
Letizia MarianiHumanities
Cristina De HaroMerage
Xiajing ZhuMerage
Victoria RodriguezPublic Health
Hugo Sanchez HernandezSocial Ecology
Desiree MacchiaPhysiology & Biophysics
Rodger De MirandaMolecular Bio
Khirad SiddiquiSocial Ecology
Valery VigilEducation
AY 2020-2021:
Nadjia MotleyMaterials/Science/Engineering
Ella TurenneVisual Studies
Angeline DukesNeurobiology & Behavior
Jaylen LeeStatistics
John Peca-MedlinMathematics
Alysha KassamLogic & Philosophy of Science
Alexandria Jones-PattenNursing Science
Nicholas FreemanSociology
Hesam AbediniICIT
Jessica TaghiaveePolitical Science
David AuPhysiology & Biophysics
Janielle VidalEnvironmental Health
Xuan XieMerage
Elena DominguezNeurobiology & Behavior
Bono OlgadoInformatics

Graduate students and postdoctoral scholars who have actively contributed to inclusive excellence on campus are eligible and encouraged to apply for funds that support their professional development. Examples include, but are not limited to, holding leadership positions within DECADE, organizing diversity and inclusion-based programs with DECADE Faculty Mentors, holding mentoring positions for Graduate Division programs including DECADE PLUS, Summer Undergraduate Research Program, and Competitive Edge, and/or participating in other campus initiatives that support inclusive excellence such as certificate programs and committees.

Awards of up to $500 are available. Applications for the 2023-24 academic is located here.